Oct 20, 2008
I am a resident physician working in ER. yesterday while suturing the blood splashed to my face &I'm not sure about eyes. I checked hiv serology on patient that was negative,should i worry about getting hiv
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Hello ER Resident,
I see no cause for concern or worry regarding your potential "occupational exposure." Even if the patient was HIV positive (extremely unlikely), the virus cannot permeate intact skin. If blood had splashed into your eyes, you would have realized it. That the patient tested HIV negative is extremely reassuring. The chance that the patient is in his "window period" (the time from transmission of the virus to the time anti-HIV antibodies can be detected in the blood) would be extremely remote. As with all potential occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens, you should complete an incident report and be evaluated at occupational health. As a physician, you should be familiar with the "Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis." You can download a copy at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5409a1.htm. And as a physician working in the ER, you should also familiarize yourself with the guidelines for "Antiretroviral Prophylaxis after Sexual, Injection-Drug Use, or other Nonoccupational Exposure to HIV in the United States." You can download a copy of the nPEP guidelines at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5402.pdf.
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